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BGTC: Jamie Smyth signs with DRM Racing for final races

SMYTH Signs for DRM Racing for the final 4 races of the British GT Championships... Southern Formula Ford Championship leader Jamie Smyth will combine his FF1600 title campaign with a drive in the British GT Championship from the end of ...

SMYTH Signs for DRM Racing for the final 4 races of the British GT Championships...

Southern Formula Ford Championship leader Jamie Smyth will combine his FF1600 title campaign with a drive in the British GT Championship from the end of August.

Smyth, who has always intended to use FF1600 as a stepping stone to higher-profile motorsport, will drive a GT Cup class Ferrari 360 for the ambitious new DRM Racing team at Thruxton on 28-29th August and Brands Hatch on 2nd-3rd October. Jamie's ultimate aim in motorsport is to race at the Le Mans 24 Hours -- and impressing the DRM team could bring him a step closer to his debut at the French classic.

"I was looking at doing some Radical or TVR Tuscan races this year to get some practice," said Smyth, "but this is a hell of a deal and gives me a chance to learn about sportscar racing within the GT championship.

"They may be just starting out, but the team has big plans and some serious money has been put into it. As long as they're happy with me then there's a chance to do a deal for next year, but if you're crap at this level they just bin you."

Jamie currently leads the Southern FFord series by 13 points from Matt Wood, and should tie up the title if he finishes ahead of Wood in the next race at Lydden Hill on 4th September. Smyth has reaffirmed his commitment to the remainder of the FF1600 season and even suggested he can see himself back in club FFord in a post-Le Mans career!

"I'm still going to finish the Southern series, partly because I think the championship needs the support, and because I enjoy racing in it," he said. "It would be easy enough for me to say 'I'm a GT driver now' and walk away, but it wouldn't be fair to jack it in like that. Matt wouldn't like winning the title without me there either.

"I want to do sportscars for four or five years because Le Mans really is a dream race for me, but I believe FF1600 is the best racing you'll find anywhere -- both to watch and to race in -- and I can see myself coming back to it eventually."

Smyth will share the #67 DRM Racing Ferrari with Portuguese driver 'Lourenco', running alongside the lead #62 car of the highly experienced Adam Wilcox and Ni Amorim. Jamie has only raced single-seaters up to now, but will test the sportscar prior to the Le Mans Endurance Series support race at Silverstone in mid-August and has few concerns about his ability to adjust.

"If I was about to drive a GT class Chrysler Viper or something like that I think I would be worried, but the GT Cup cars are mostly road-based so it should be an easier step," he said. "If you're in single-seaters then going to rear-wheel drive sportscars is probably easier than front-wheel drive saloons, and I've done track days so I've driven other quick cars on racetracks as well as FF1600s."

Coming so soon after Peter Dempsey's highly successful Formula BMW move, Smyth's British GT graduation is yet more proof that FF1600 is becoming a genuine feeder formula once again, as well as being the best form of club racing available to the talented amateur.

-aw-

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Series GT
Drivers Ni Amorim , Adam Wilcox , Jamie Smyth , Peter Dempsey